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Sierra Leone Information - Page 2
The Portuguese visited Sierra Leone in the middle of the fifteenth century. Later, the British began trading in the area establishing forts on the islands of Bunce and York.

In 1787 British abolitionists (people against the slave trade) established the Province of Freedom - Freetown - for those who had escaped slavery.

Freetown became a British Colony in 1808. A British Protectorate was established in 1896.

Sierra Leone achieved independence in 1961. Following a change in the Constitution (1971), the country became a republic.

Civil war, lasting until 2002, began in Sierra Leone in 1991. United Nations forces arrived in Sierra Leone at the end of 1999 and withdrew in December 2005.

Sierra Leone's argricultural sector earns around half of the Gross Domestic Product; a significant percentage of the labour force earns a living from subsistence farming.

Agricultural produce includes rice, cassava, bananas, plantains, groundnuts, palm kernels, coffee, and cocoa. Livestock is reared. The fishing grounds provide mackeral, snapper, tuna, shrimp, lobster and crab.

Mining is an important industry. Sierra Leone has deposits of diamonds, gold, rutile (titanium dioxide), bauxite and iron ore. Other industries are petroleum refining, small commercial ship repair, footwear, textiles, and beverages.

Crafts in Sierra Leone are basketwork, weaving, tie-dye, batik and woodcarving. Examples can be seen in the National Museum.

Music and dance are an intrinsic part of the cultural life of Sierra Leone. National dance is performed on ceremonial occasions, accompanied by traditional instruments such as the the kora (a stringed instrument), the balangi (similar to a xylophone) and bundu drums.

The national football team is known as the Leone Stars. Cricket is also played.

The Atlantic coast offers opportunities for water sports; activities such as football and volleyball take place on the beaches.

All religious festivals are celebrated. Other holidays include Independence Day - 27 April (1961 from the UK).

News from Sierra Leone is available from Newslink.

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